A zebra shark in the aquarium of Burj Al Arab hotel has successfully reproduced in the absence of a male.
Dubai, 07 December 2011: The Aquarium team of Burj Al Arab, the World’s Most Luxurious Hotel, has announced that the Zebra Shark inhabiting the hotel’s ‘underwater restaurant’ aquarium is the first shark of its species to reproduce without the presence of a male – a process known as parthenogenesis.
The mother shark currently lives with her daughter, ‘Nimr’, who is one of 21 surviving Zebra Sharks to have been reproduced through the process of parthenogenesis since 2007.
The evolutionary phenomenon has never before been recorded in this species of shark, Stegostoma Fasciatum (widely known as the Zebra Shark). It has been genetically confirmed through scientific research, following which an article has been reviewed by peers and published in Journal of Fish Biology*.
Working closely with Dr Khazanehdari of the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory in Dubai, the process of parthenogenesis was confirmed through the DNA analysis of some of the mother shark’s offspring. The discovery, coupled with the survival of the pups, is a significant breakthrough in science, questioning existing knowledge of shark reproduction.
Notes to Editors:
Pictured above is Nimr, swimming in the tank in Al Mahara restaurant in Burj Al Arab where she lives with her daughter Nimr. The Zebra Sharks inhabit the Oval tank sharing approximately 300,000 litres of salt water with a wide variety of exotic marine life.
To view a video of Nimr, please click here.
* Annually recurring parthenogenesis in a zebra shark Stegostoma fasciatum David P Robinson MSc and Warren Baverstock et alJournal of Fish BiologyVolume 79, Issue 3, Pages 1376-1382, November 2011.
The process of normal fertilisation in sharks starts with an egg cell in the female which divides into four. Only one becomes the egg which is then fertilised by a male so the baby shark will have one set of chromosomes from the mother and one from the father. Parthenogenesis starts in the same way and then differs as the egg doubles and divides its genetic material. The cells and genome then combine so that the baby shark has two sets of chromosomes from the mother; as a result the parthenogen pup will always be female.
About Jumeirah Group:
Jumeirah Group, the Dubai-based luxury hospitality company and a member of Dubai Holding, operates a world-class portfolio of hotels and resorts. Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts includes Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai; Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi; Jumeirah Carlton Tower and Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel in London; Jumeirah Frankfurt in Germany, Jumeirah Essex House in New York; Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel in Shanghai and Jumeirah Dhevanafushi in the Maldives. Jumeirah Group also runs the luxury serviced residences brand Jumeirah Living; the spa brand Talise; Jumeirah Restaurants; Wild Wadi Waterpark; The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management; and Sirius, its global loyalty programme.
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